Showing posts with label Abused Children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Abused Children. Show all posts

February 25, 2020

Cock Fighting in Puerto Rico,Mexico, Bull Fighting Spain, Children Fighting as Sport in Macedonia

Global Voices

Pavlina Simonoska Arsikj

Screenshot from video by on “gladiator fights” of children in Skopje. Image by Institute for Communication Studies, used with permission.
A Macedonian news outlet has recently revealed the existence of public, organized “gladiator fights” between minors in the capital Skopje in a story that left citizens astounded. reporters obtained a video showing two boys fighting in a playground while dozens of onlookers, mostly adults, cheer on. A referee can also be spotted in the video. 
 Residents interviewed in the video say that these fights take place frequently, but that the participants are not from the neighborhood.
A follow-up story by revealed that the fight's organizers charge entrance fees, too: 20 denars (less than half of a US dollar) for watching and 300 denars (6 dollars) for recording.
My elder son told me he knew that these events were happening. He doesn't attend them, but he told me that it was “a normal thing for his age.” I was very upset when I heard that, and explained to him that it is not normal for children to participate into such fighting matches. My son has also informed me that watching the fights came with a charge, including a 300 denars (6 dollars) charge for filming the fight with a mobile phone.
Global Voices contacted eighth-grade students from a school near the playground where one of the videos was recorded. They said they had classmates who have attended those fights, and added that the organizers charge 50 denars (1 USD) per “standard tickets” and 200 denars (3.50 USD) for “VIP” spots in the first row next to the ring.
Meanwhile, local media alleged that the adults attending the fights are also engaging in betting.
It is still unclear whether the police will investigate the events, whose organizers are yet to be identified. In response to an inquiry by newspaper Sloboden Pechat, the Ministry of Interior stated that authorities had taken measures such as notifying the public prosecutor and recommending the police addresses the matter in educational lectures it gives in schools.

 Many Macedonians have been dissatisfied with the official responses so far. When reporters approached Minister of Education Arbër Ademi, he merely said that, because the fights take place outside of schools, the ministry has no authority over them.
The playground where the videos were recorded is located in the municipality of Centar, and all nearby schools are under its authority. Still, Mayor Sasha Bogdanovikj claims the children who appear in the videos are not residents of the municipality.

Организирани борби на малолетници, што се наплаќаат за забава, и тоа во Капиштец? Ако тоа се случува во центар на Скопје, да очекуваме дека на други места се одгледуваат деца за борба? Луда Макседонија, жална и назадна

Organized fights of underage kids, as a form of pay-per-view entertainment, and all that taking place in Kapishtec neighborhood? If such a thing is taking place in the center of Skopje, should we expect that in other places children had been raised to do these battles? Macedonia as crazy, pitiful and backward.
In recent years, similar fighting events involving children have been reported in different places worldwide, including Alberta, CanadaSt Louis, United States; in Preston, Great Britain; and Moscow, Russia.
Half of the students aged 13 to 15 worldwide – around 150 million – report having experienced peer-to-peer violence (physical fights and bullying) in and around school according to a 2018 report by UNICEF. According to the Macedonian human rights group Helsinki Committee, who recently issued a statement demanding authorities take action against the children “fight clubs,” 42 percent of students aged 13 and 15 in North Macedonia have reported experiencing peer violence.
Other analyses have shown that a significant proportion of victims (36 percent) and perpetrators (18 percent) of hate crimes in North Macedonia are minors. Ethnicity and political affiliation constituted the main grounds for hate crimes in 2018, with a smaller number of incidents involving refugee or migrant status, religious belief, and disability.

February 3, 2020

Priest Wrap Boy in Plastic to Sexually Abuse Him

Image result for Brian Stanley, 57,"
          Image result for Brian Stanley, 57,

ALLEGAN, MI — A former Otsego priest was sentenced to jail and probation Monday, Jan. 27, in Allegan County Circuit Court on one count of attempted unlawful imprisonment of a 17-year-old boy.

Brian Stanley, 57, was arrested Aug. 22 and charged with one count of unlawful imprisonment, a 15-year felony. As part of a plea agreement made at his pretrial hearing in November, that charge was dismissed at sentencing.

Stanley admitted at his pretrial hearing to tying up the boy and taping his eyes and mouth shut in September 2013, while “secretly confining” him for “approximately 30 minutes" in the janitor’s room of St. Margaret’s Church in Otsego. He will spend 60 days in jail, five years on probation and be required to register as a sex offender for a period of 15 years, according to the sentence issued Monday by Allegan County Circuit Judge Margaret Bakker.

Having to register as a sex offender will also force him to move to a new residence, as his home is located near a school, said Stanley’s attorney Michael Hills during the sentencing.

Michigan State Assistant Attorney General Alison Furtaw, while arguing for Stanley’s sentence to exceed sentencing guidelines, pointed out that according to the pre-sentence report, Stanley admitted to engaging in similar conduct on multiple occasions over the prior two decades.

Three other alleged victims have come forward, Furtaw said, one of whom was 13 at the time he was allegedly abused.

“Although (Stanley) reports there was no sexual reason for doing this to the victims, they thought he was masturbating but it was hard for them to tell because their eyes were taped shut,” Furtaw told the court. “This was going on for a long time. These victims were not able to receive justice because this was outside of the statute of limitations.”

Hill, referencing a letter received and follow-up conversations with the victim’s family, argued for a lighter sentence for his client, saying the family does not want Stanley incarcerated. After that communication, Hill said, he encouraged his client to withdraw his plea. Stanley did not withdraw his guilty plea.

“We can only assume he pleaded because he didn’t want (the victim) to have to testify,” Hills said, adding that Stanley told him, "'No, what I did was wrong and I am ready to accept responsibility.'

“He’s 57 years, old, has zero criminal history, and having to register as a sex offender has serious impacts. All he has done over the course of his adult life as work is be a priest, a professor, all of that’s gone,” Hills said.

Stanley, according to Furtaw, was living with the victim when the incidents occurred and the victim’s parents had encouraged the living situation as Stanley was the child’s “spiritual adviser” and the child was in need of help dealing with addiction and other issues.

When offered the opportunity to make a statement or apology to the court prior to his sentencing, Stanley declined.

“I believe good people do bad things,” Bakker said while issuing Stanley’s sentence. “Does the fact that they have done good negate the bad? I don’t think it does.”

The judge, in response to Hills’ statement the victim’s family does not wish to see Stanley receive any jail time, said it is not unusual, particularly in cases involving children, to see a change of heart after a report is made.

"It’s a very typical response because typically the person who abuses a child is also a friend to the child,” Bakker said. “Whether a parent, stepparent, boyfriend of a parent, Cub Scout leader, Girl Scout leader, priest, youth leader, as a prosecutor, I think I’ve prosecuted all those types of people. They are good people but they do bad things.”

The judge said it is also common that those victimized are among the most vulnerable members of society.

“This case is very serious, very concerning and very disturbing and I can’t believe there isn’t going to be a long-term impact on everyone involved,” Bakker said. “I believe the defendant knew what he was doing was wrong.”

The 2013 incident was reported to the Diocese of Kalamazoo shortly after it occurred, prompting Stanley to be placed on administrative leave immediately, according to an August statement from the diocese after Stanley’s arrest.

The diocese stated that it reported the allegation to Child Protective Services, who in turn referred the matter to the Otsego Police Department.

“We promptly placed Father Brian Stanley on administrative leave pending the outcome of the police investigation. According to the Otsego Police Department, ‘the complaint was not criminal and there would be no charges,’” the statement from the diocese said.

Stanley was then reinstated, the attorney general’s office said, and four years later the diocese learned of additional allegations involving Stanley and reported those incidents to the Coldwater Police Department; however, no charges were filed by law enforcement as the witness refused to testify at that time.

Stanley was again placed on administrative leave upon learning of the new allegations, the diocese said, but this time was not reinstated.

“The Diocese of Kalamazoo continues to pray for all survivor-victims as well as all those impacted by this situation, including members of our Catholic faithful whose faith and trust may be shaken," diocese spokeswoman Victoria Cessna said in a statement issued following Monday’s sentencing.

Cessna continued by saying that the diocese remains steadfast in its "commitment to promote greater protection and safeguards of all people, particularly for children and vulnerable adults.”

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a statement of its own after the charges were filed against Stanley back in August.

The organization called on church officials throughout the state to make announcements from the pulpit, and to use parish bulletins and church websites to share information about the case “to encourage victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward and make a report to law enforcement.”

“We hope this story inspires others who may be suffering in silence to come forward, make a report to the AG, and start healing," said Zach Hiner, executive director for SNAP, in the statement.

The organization, as well as the attorney general’s office and the Diocese of Kalamazoo, asks anyone who has suspicions about cases of clergy abuse to call 1-844-324-3374 or to use this confidential, online reporting form.

Stanley’s case is one of many that has been, or is being, investigated by Michigan State Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office following a 2018 raid of the seven Catholic dioceses in the state of Michigan, which helped corroborate first-hand accounts of abuse, Nessel said.

“Mr. Stanley took advantage of a vulnerable victim and today he is being held accountable,” Nessel said in a statement issued Monday, Jan. 27. “We continue to review information seized from all seven Michigan dioceses in 2018, and we will thoroughly evaluate accusations and complaints brought forth by victims. For too long, criminal behavior by members of the clergy has gone unnoticed, and that must stop.”

Hundreds of sex-abuse claims were made against Catholic priests, former and current, in the first six months of the investigation, and Nessel said she expected that number to eclipse 1,000 claims in what was anticipated to be a two-year investigation that could last late into 2020.

Also on MLive:

Priest abuse case shows why state investigation needed, advocacy group says

Shame and guilt haunt those who say Catholic clergy in Michigan sexually abused them

Michigan priest accused of tying up teenage boy, taping mouth and eyes

5 Michigan priests charged with 21 counts of criminal sexual abuse


January 30, 2020

U.S. Attorney Complaints Prince Andrew Won't Cooperate with The Epstein Investigation

A photograph appearing to show Prince Andrew with Virginia Roberts Giuffre and, in the background, Ghislaine Maxwell.
A photograph appearing to show Prince Andrew with Virginia Roberts Giuffre and, in the background, Ghislaine Maxwell.

London (CNN)Lawyers representing alleged victims of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein have threatened to subpoena Prince Andrew after the royal was accused of "zero co-operation" with US prosecutors.

In November, the prince said he was "willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency" if required after he appeared in a BBC Newsnight interview in which he was questioned over his friendship with Epstein.

But Geoffrey Berman, US attorney and the lead prosecutor in the inquiry, said Monday that the Duke of York has not responded to requests for an interview.
Prince Andrew has not cooperated with attempts to interview him about Jeffrey Epstein, US Attorney says

"It's fair for people to know whether Prince Andrew has followed through with that public commitment," said Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
"To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation."

Gloria Allred, a US lawyer representing some of Epstein's alleged victims, told BBC Radio 4's Today program on Tuesday: "This is ridiculous. It's just not acceptable."
She added: "I don't know whether Prince Andrew thinks he's above the law or whether he thinks that he doesn't know anything... but excuses just don't cut this anymore."

Lisa Bloom, another US lawyer representing five women who say they were abused by Epstein, told BBC's Newsnight on Monday that her clients were "outraged and disappointed" by Prince Andrew's failure to cooperate.

"If Prince Andrew truly has done nothing wrong then it's incumbent upon him to go and speak to the FBI at a time that's convenient for him and say what he knows," she said. "Perhaps he can help bring other people to justice." 

Can the US subpoena Prince Andrew?

A subpoena is an order that compels someone to appear in court or to submit evidence.
Antonios Tzanakopoulos, associate professor of Public International Law at Oxford University, told CNN that a US court "can always issue a subpoena" but they cannot make someone comply if they are in another jurisdiction, including the UK.

Allred told the BBC that lawyers in the civil lawsuit could seek to subpoena Prince Andrew if he were to travel to the US. "Certainly, if he ever came back to the United States, that would be one of the first things that I'm sure a lot of lawyers, including me, would want to do," she said.

If he were to travel to the US on an official visit, it is likely he would have some form of immunity, although it might be different if he were on a private visit, added Tzanakopoulos. 
Is there another way Prince Andrew could be made to give evidence?

Countries including the UK and US have a Mutual Assistance Treaty, but this is reserved for criminal matters, says Tzanakopoulos. "There is no criminal matter pending in regard to Prince Andrew," he said.

Epstein died by apparent suicide in August, so his alleged victims have instead brought a civil suit against his estate, claiming damages. The FBI's criminal investigation concerns Epstein's alleged co-conspirators.

Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein's accusers, claims she was trafficked to London by Epstein in 2001 when she was 17, and forced to have sex with his friends, including Prince Andrew.

The prince has emphatically denied any form of sexual contact or relationship with her.

The US could make a request to the UK's High Court under a law that provides assistance in civil matters, says Tzanakopoulos, but this process is "so permissive it's easy to give reasons not to do it."
Are the UK courts likely to help?

The UK makes its own rules on how to comply with a request relating to a proceeding in a foreign court.

The Evidence (Proceedings in Other Jurisdictions) Act 1975 states that "a person shall not be compelled ... to give any evidence if his doing so would be prejudicial to the security of the United Kingdom."

Tzanakopoulos believes that "if we're talking about the Queen's son, arguments could easily be made that it is prejudicial."

Anna Bradshaw, a lawyer at Peters and Peters Solicitors, told CNN that even if a request were made for Mutual Legal Assistance in a criminal case, the prince could respond in a UK court with all the accompanying protections available under UK law.

Even if such a request were granted or refused, Bradshaw said, the public would not necessarily know about it -- UK government policy is not to reveal the details of such requests.

November 7, 2019

"The Prince (Andrew) Should Be in Jail" Just Like Epstein Was Going To Be

PRINCE Andrew’s sex slave accuser Virginia Roberts has declared the royal deserves to go to jail after claiming he slept with her with she was 17.
Virginia also returned to Jeffrey Epstein’s New York mansion where she says she was held captive by the paedo in an explosive new interview.

 Jeffrey Epstein's alleged 'sex slave' Virginia Roberts has said Prince Andrew should go to jail after claiming he slept with her when she was a teen
Jeffrey Epstein's alleged 'sex slave' Virginia Roberts has said Prince Andrew should go to jail after claiming he slept with her when she was a teen

She claims she was “lent out” by Epstein to sleep with his powerful pals, including the Duke of York – accusations the royal vehemently denies.
And now she says she wants to see the circle of elite men who sexually assaulted her go to jail – including Prince Andrew.
“Prince Andrew should go to jail. I mean, is he ever going to? Probably not,” Virginia told 60 Minutes Australia.
She added: “I was trafficked to other billionaires, I was trafficked to other politicians. It was the elite of the world.
“They should be named and they should be shamed. What they've done is horrific.”

 Virginia in her infamous picture with Prince Andrew in London in 2001
Virginia in her infamous picture with Prince Andrew in London in 2001Credit: Collect


Virginia, who now also goes by the surname Giuffre, alleges that she slept with the Duke of York three times in London, New York, and his private Caribbean island.
But Andrew has repeatedly denied the accusations – which were struck out by a US court.
The royal was infamously pictured with his arm around Virginia when she was 17 at a party thrown by Epstein and his alleged Brit ‘madam’ Ghislaine Maxwell.
But his lawyers have cast doubt on the authenticity of the pictures with sources saying his fingers are “chubby” and do not resemble the hand seen in the infamous picture.
In the interview, which is set to air this weekend, journalist Tara Brown grills Virginia about claims the photos are “staged”.
“He says it's not his arm and those are not his fingers,” says Brown.
Virginia responds: "Oh the chubby fingers, I know."
She insists: “This is a real photo. That is Andrew.” 
Buckingham Palace said in a statement earlier this year: “Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.
“It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
Prince Andrew said of Epstein: "At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction."
Despite his repeated denials, Virginia has said the royal "knows exactly what he's done".
Her lawyer has revealed he has made "multiple requests" to Andrew’s team to "answer real questions".
A lawyer for Jeffrey Epstein's alleged victim also told how he'd made "multiple requests" to the perv's pal Andrew to "answer real questions".
In the interview, Virginia also returned to the mansion where Epstein first started grooming her 20 years ago.
“Being a kid, I didn't realize what world I was being brought into,” says Virginia.
“This mansion represents jail to me.” 
She is one of the dozens of women who have accused Epstein of sexual assault and manipulation.
Epstein was facing charges of running a global child sex ring when he killed himself in a New York jail cell in August.
Since his death, fresh scrutiny has been paid to his crimes and his associates – including Prince Andrew and Epstein’s alleged British sidekick Ghislaine Maxwell.

October 4, 2019

In A Corner of Pakistan Children are Being Rape, Killed and Are Disappearing

CreditSaiyna Bashir for The New York Time

By Salman Masood

CHUNIAN, Pakistan — When the 8-year-old Muhammad Faizan went missing on Sept. 16, he was the fourth child to mysteriously disappear in the eastern Pakistani city of Chunian since June. Three other boys had been missing for several weeks.

Muhammad’s father, Qari Muhammad Ramzan, 39, braced for a long search. But devastating news came a day later.

Faizan’s body was found in a deserted area about two miles from his house in a poor neighborhood of Chunian in the Kasur district of Punjab Province. The autopsy revealed Faizan had been raped before being killed.

The police also found two skulls, bones and pieces of clothing near the body. Ghazala Bibi, the mother of a 9-year-old boy who had also gone missing, Ali Husnain, recognized her son’s shirt. The fathers of two other boys, ages 8 and 12, also learned their sons were victims.
The crimes have incited horror and outrage across Pakistan. Angry protests erupted in Chunian after the grisly discovery. People surrounded the local police station, blaming police neglect.

On Thursday, the police chief of Kasur, Sohail Habib Tajik, said in an interview that a 27-year-old man, Sohail Shahzad, had been arrested this week in connection with the four killings after an extensive manhunt.

ImageGhazala Bibi, center, with her three remaining children. Her 9-year-old son, Ali Husnain is believed to have been killed by the same person who killed Muhammad Faizan.
(Lead picture above)

Ghazala Bibi, center, with her three remaining children. Her 9-year-old son, Ali Husnain is believed to have been killed by the same person who killed Muhammad Faizan.CreditSaiyna Bashir for The New York Times

“Sohail Shahzad has confessed of the killings,” Mr. Tajik said, adding that the suspect used to drive a rickshaw in Chunian and had lured the children by offering them money to collect firewood.

But the arrest and reported confession do not answer the question on parents’ minds: Why does this keep happening in Kasur? 

After years of disturbing attacks in the district, Kasur has become a byword for the rape and killings of children. Cases keep surfacing. And parents say they are afraid to let their children go outside.

“We tie our remaining three children with a rope in the night, just to make sure that they don’t slip away from us,” said Ms. Bibi’s husband, Muhammad Afzal.

The distraught parents of Kasur are bitter and angry at the police. The officials, they said, treated them with callous indifference, mostly urging them to search for the missing on their own.

Prime Minister Imran Khan even intervened, announcing on Twitter that the entire lineup of police officials in Kasur had been removed and an investigation ordered. “There will be accountability for all,” Mr. Khan said.

CreditSaiyna Bashir for The New York Times

Police investigators in Chunian last week.

Police investigators in Chunian last week.CreditSaiyna Bashir for The New York Times
The streets of Chunian were deserted recently, even during the daytime. Many children are now accompanied by an adult to and from school for safety.

For the parents, the stress was one more worry piled on already difficult lives.

“Should we worry about earning our livelihood or worry about children’s whereabouts?” said Mr. Ramzan, a cleric in the local mosque. “It is not easy to earn a living these days.” 

Inam Ghani, the additional inspector general of the Punjab police, said that Kasur is a peculiar case “because there have been serial pedophile murders.”

In January 2018, Zainab Amin, 7, was raped and killed in Kasur. Her body was found in a trash site. Before her, 12 other child rape cases had been reported within roughly a mile radius. In 2015, a gang of men was arrested after reports emerged that they had sexually abused at least 200 children in a rural area of the district. The men made videos of the abuse to either sell underground or use to extort money from victims’ families.

Zainab’s murder had also incited days of angry riots in Kasur, and the government and leading political parties, including Mr. Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, vowed never to let such attacks occur again. After 12 days, the police arrested a 24-year-old neighbor named Imran Ali. An anti-terrorism court sentenced him to death on February 2018. He was hanged later that year.

It was widely expected that the case of Zainab, which had become a symbol of child sexual abuse, would result in broad police overhauls and awareness of such crimes.

But more than a year later, there is no letup in reports of child abuse in this district and in the country.

“There is no child protection policy in Punjab,” said Sarah Ahmad, chairwoman of the government-run Punjab Child Protection and Welfare Bureau, adding that there was a need for tougher legislation against child abuse. 

CreditSaiyna Bashir for The New York Times

“There is no child protection policy in Punjab,” said Sarah Ahmad, chairwoman of the Punjab Child Protection and Welfare Bureau.

“There is no child protection policy in Punjab,” said Sarah Ahmad, chairwoman of the Punjab Child Protection and Welfare Bureau.CreditSaiyna Bashir for The New York Times
She said the abuse was not limited to a specific place and that she is planning an awareness campaign in Kasur and other districts in the province. “Child abuse cannot be stopped in days or months,” Ms. Ahmad said. “It will take years.” 

Many theories have offered for why Kasur has a bigger problem than other places — people have blamed pornography, organized criminal gangs who sell videos of the crimes on the internet, social divisions and prostitution linked to growing cities. But police officials dismiss claims of gangs selling violent videos online.

Kasur is known for its tanneries and small industry. Chunian, which is about 40 miles from Kasur city, also has a small industrial area.

Mr. Tajik, the police chief, said that rape cases are reported all over the country, but that Kasur had been spotlighted because of the evidence of serial killings. He also cited rapid urbanization in many cities and towns for a breakdown in the social order.

“The social system is broken down in most towns, especially in Kasur district,” he said. “There is no monitoring system. In Kasur district, people with large families are living in very small houses. The rents are very low and people move in and out quickly, without strict identification and vetting.”

Ghost Abad is a poor neighborhood where power cables dangling overhead in narrow alleys, with just enough space for a motorbike or rickshaw to pass. The stench of sewage wafts through the air. Most of the residents are employed as laborers or low-paid workers in nearby markets.

Ms. Bibi and her husband have been particularly devastated by their son’s killing. “Our shoes were worn out, and we almost went mad trying to find Ali Husnain,” Mr. Afzal said, teary-eyed. 

His wife seemed frail and almost dazed. The family is now in debt. Their paltry savings were spent on printing posters of their son and several visits to Lahore, the provincial capital, where children from low-income families often run away to.

A picture of another boy whose remains were believed to have been found, Salman Akram, 8, held by his father, Muhammad Akram. New York Times


A picture of another boy whose remains were believed to have been found, Salman Akram, 8, held by his father, Muhammad Akram.CreditSaiyna Bashir for The New York Times
The police have been under enormous pressure to find those responsible for the recent disappearances. On Tuesday, Mr. Khan, the prime minister, announced a new mobile app that parents can use to report a missing child, which immediately alerts high-ranking police officers.

But the police, who now have a suspect in custody and have increased the number of officers in the district, cannot allay the trauma and apprehension of the distraught parents.

Ms. Bibi said she feared the killer could come again, jump over the wall of their house, and snatch away her remaining children, two daughters, and a son.

“Ali Husnain was my eldest son. He was very close to me,” she said with a deep sigh. “Now, we are left with sorrow for the rest of our lives.”

August 25, 2019

Prince Andrew Wont Be Visiting The US Anytime Soon

Prince Andrew has defended his former friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, saying "at no stage" did he "see or suspect" any criminal behavior.
                 Prince Andrew, left, and Jeffrey Epstein in New York's Central Park
 Epstein, 66, took his own life in a jail cell this month while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
In a statement, the Duke of York said he wanted to "clarify the facts" around his "former association or friendship" with the US financier.
He said it was a "mistake" to meet Epstein after he left prison in 2010.
"During the time I knew him, I saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year," the prince said.
"I have stayed in a number of his residences. At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction."
The duke - who said he first met Epstein in 1999 - added that he had "tremendous sympathy" for all those affected by Epstein's behavior. 
"His suicide has left many unanswered questions and I acknowledge and sympathize with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure." Allegations against Epstein surfaced in 2005 when the parents of a 14-year-old girl told police in Florida he had molested their daughter at his Palm Beach home.
The financier was accused of paying underage girls to perform sex acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005.
A controversial secret plea deal saw him plead guilty to a lesser charge of soliciting a minor for prostitution. He received an 18-month prison sentence and was released on probation in 2010. 
Prince Andrew was photographed with Epstein in New York's Central Park in late 2010 - after the tycoon was released from jail. 
Footage has also emerged reportedly showing the prince at Epstein's mansion in Manhattan in 2010.

Media captionFootage appears to shows Prince Andrew inside Jeffery Epstein's New York residence in 2010

In the statement, released on Saturday, the duke added: "I have said previously that it was a mistake and an error to see him after his release in 2010 and I can only reiterate my regret that I was mistaken to think that what I thought I knew of him was evidently not the real person, given what we now know.
"This is a difficult time for everyone involved and I am at a loss to be able to understand or explain Mr. Epstein's lifestyle. 
"I deplore the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behavior." 
In July 2019 Epstein was charged in New York with further allegations of sex trafficking and conspiracy and was due to face trial next year. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges but if convicted, was facing up to 45 years in prison.

Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein: Key dates

Feb 1999 - The Duke of York said he first met Epstein, a wealthy hedge fund manager, in 1999. Prince Andrew reportedly flew with Epstein on his private Gulfstream jet in February that year, according to the Daily Mirror.The Daily Mail also reported that 10 months earlier Epstein's logbook showed he had flown to the same location to meet the duke's ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson.
June 2000 - Epstein and his British ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell were among a star-studded guest list at a party hosted by the Queen in June 2000. The duke became part of the social circle of Ms. Maxwell - someone who Epstein later described as his best friend. The duke accompanied Ms. Maxwell - daughter of the late newspaper tycoon, Robert Maxwell - at private parties and celebrity functions both in the UK and in the US that year.
December 2000 - The then 40-year-old prince, threw Ms. Maxwell a surprise birthday party at Sandringham, with Epstein among the guests.
December 2010 - The duke met Epstein in New York's Central Park after the tycoon was released from prison. Prince Andrew later said the meeting was a mistake and an error of judgment. Buckingham Palace said he had no contact with Epstein after that. 
July 2011 - The palace confirmed the duke would stand down as the UK's trade envoy following criticism of his friendship with Epstein.
2 Jan 2015 - In response to the duke being named in court papers as part of a US civil case against Epstein, the palace said: "Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue." According to the Guardian, one of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Roberts - now Virginia Giuffre - said she was ordered to give the prince "whatever he required". Buckingham Palace said: "This relates to proceedings in the United States to which the Duke of York is not a party."
3 Jan 2015 - A second statement issued two days later, after further details about allegations were published in Sunday newspapers, stressed claims made about the duke were "without any foundation". "It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation."
22 Jan 2015 - Prince Andrew spoke about the claims at a World Economic Forum reception in Davos, Switzerland. He said: "I just wish to reiterate and to reaffirm the statements that have already been made on my behalf by Buckingham Palace. My focus is on my work."
August 2019 - In response to questions following Mr. Epstein's subsequent arrest in 2019, a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said: "The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged crimes. His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behavior is abhorrent." 
The Queen's third child quit his role as a UK trade envoy in 2011 after the fallout from the photos of him and Epstein in 2010.
The duke had been appointed the UK's special representative for international trade and investment in 2001 after retiring from the Royal Navy.
He worked for - but did not receive a salary from - the government body UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), which reports jointly to the Foreign Office and the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills.

PRINCE Andrew is “frustrated” because he fears he will not be able to return to the US due to the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, reports claim.
The Duke of York is reportedly worried he may be drawn into the multi-million dollar lawsuits brought by some of his paedo pal’s alleged victims.

 Andrew and Virginia Giuffre - then Roberts - who in 2015 claimed Andrew slept with her three times
Andrew and Virginia Giuffre - then Roberts - who in 2015 claimed Andrew slept with her three times credit: Rex Features

Andrew has not visited the US since early 2017 – despite the country being one of his “favorite” places in the world to go.
He is said to be “disappointed” that his plans to launch a business scheme for entrepreneurs in the US later this year have been put on hold.
One source told the Daily Mail: “Andrew has openly said he can’t see how he can go back to the US at the moment with everything that is going on.
“I know this is a source of enormous frustration for him as it is one of his favorite places in the world to go.”
Andrew had wanted to get a foothold in the US by taking his Pitch@Palace scheme – a Dragons’ Den-style initiative for entrepreneurs – to the country.
He is understood to have discussed his plans with Donald Trump when the US President came to the UK for his state visit earlier this year.
But the proposal has been “put on ice”, according to reports.
“Andrew is very disappointed as he has long been very keen to get a foothold out there with it,” the source added.

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